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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Second Ammendment Liberty

The Supreme Court issued its much anticipated ruling concerning the D.C. law banning handguns. The court struck down the law! Good for them. They did so on sound Constitutional theory. The Second amendment is not ambiguous.

The short article concerning the decision can be read here.

Justice Stevens writing for the minority wrote that the majority "would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons." He said such evidence "is nowhere to be found."

The fact is the Framers intended to do just that, limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate the civilian use of weapons. In fact the Bill of Rights was especially intended to keep government from intruding on individual liberty.

To claim that such evidence is nowhere to be found is an alarming sentiment coming from a jurist on the highest Court in the land. He undoubtedly is counting on the ignorance of the population in expressing such views.

I am looking forward to reading both the majority opinion and dissent when they are posted.

Added at 1:15 P.M. A more detailed article is found here.

The article has the following quote from Justice Breyer.

"Justice Stephen Breyer wrote a separate dissent in which he said, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas.""

It is interesting how often times the same Justices find no untouchable constitutional right in the very clear language of the Constitution and yet manage to find rights like the right to privacy, the right to engage in homosexual activity and also act upon the unfounded doctrine of substantive due process instead of simply ensuring a fair process.

Added 9:15 P.M.

You can read the Court's decision and the dissent here.

I just finished reading Scalia's majority opinion. It is 67 pages long and worth the read. This is the kind of Constitutional reasoning and philosophy we need. I hope to read the dissenting opinions tomorrow.

I was especially thankful for Scalia's closing paragraph for it sets forth the nature of judicial restraint for which we should hope. He wrote:

"We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct. (Emphasis mine)

We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

It is so ordered."

Added 9:31 P.M.

It is looking like George Bush's greatest legacy may be Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. They got it right on Wednesday though on the losing side when the Court struck down a Louisiana law providing for the death penalty for child rapists. They got it right again on Thursday in the majority opinion in a decision that struck down a D.C. law that banned the ownership of handguns and required all guns in the home to be disabled rendering them useless for the defense of hearth and home.
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